Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Hello World Part 2

So, to gloss over the seizures, we were VERY BUSY for the next two or three months. Then when it had all settled down it was November and end of year stuff and Christmas preparations and so when I had to go to the GP to get my blocked ear unblocked on Christmas Eve, I thought I really should get that ultrasound report.

Leading up to that point, over the previous few antenatal visits, my measurements had been a bit all over the place - mostly a month ahead of my weeks. This prompted an ultrasound to check the size of the baby. So, along I went to said ultrasound which showed a baby (girl) weighing approx 7lb 13oz (just above the birth weight of my eldest) and a very high normal level of amniotic fluid (polyhydramnios). The radiographer asked if everything was normal in all the other ultrasounds and I told him it was. He said 'we can't always check everything at this late stage because it's too hard to see'. There seemed a slight hint of 'something seems amiss....' about this exchange, but I let it go.

Anyway, having just been to my hospital appointment to receive these results, I collected the earlier report which stated there was renal pelvic dilation at the upper limits and this needed to be checked again in the third trimester. "Oops!", thought I, and "what the hell is a renal pelvis?" thought I next.
Here I started googling. (Apparently the open space in your kidney, where wee is collected, is called the pelvis. It can be dilated.) So I went into the second ultrasound 10 days later very well informed.
Again, things were at the upper normal limits. Checked the amniotic fluid again, upper normal limits again. Nothing to worry about apparently. These things sort themselves out more often than not.

Yet the fact that both these things were going on bothered me slightly. It seemed to me that if something was going on and two things were amiss, something was causing that. I thought I'd google both and see if anything came up. That was an eye opener. In a sea of not much, there was one little article which mentioned polyhydramnios and renal pelvic dilation together being soft signs (things that can mean something when present together but that don't necessarily mean that at all) for Down's syndrome.

I took a mental step back. What? Really?
Freaked out for a minute. Then read that babies born with Down's syndrome usually were small with a low birthweight. I was clearly having a big boofer of a child, so that pretty much ruled that out.
Even so, I mentioned it to my husband and asked him what we'd do if the baby was born with Down's syndrome. He said we'd do everything we could to give it a normal life but that it wasn't likely to happen so why worry.

I couldn't help it. I did worry. It was a big bad unknown and I just couldn't shake the niggle.
Eventually, I decided that worrying wasn't going to solve anything and was just going to ruin the rest of the pregnancy and so I decided to find a positive thought that would be true regardless of the outcome.
I decided that when my baby was born she would be beautiful. Nothing would change that. From that moment, my worries ceased and I went on to live out the rest of my pregnancy, unperturbed.

That was the best decision I could have made.

After what, for me, was a short labour (only 15 hours on and off) our daughter was born after only 45 mins at the hospital. 10 minutes after she was placed on my tummy she was whisked off and put in the special crib with respiration help and sent off to the special care nursery. I had only cuddled her tight under the warm towels and seen her squashy, slightly blue face with her eyes closed. I wondered who she looked like. I couldn't really tell. (Unbeknownst to me, my husband had seen her much better in the crib and he had started wondering.....)

Eventually, I was allowed to go up to the special care nursery. The paediatrician was looking her over and eventually she gave us the rundown, facing the baby - perhaps so she didn't have to look at us,
She had trouble breathing, enlarged liver, enlarged spleen, heart murmur, low platelets and dodgy white  blood cells plus physical features that were consistent with Down's syndrome.

At this point, there was no shock or upset, though my plan for the next 5 years changed completely. Two factors played a part in this. One, my decision that my baby was beautiful and that was all that mattered meant that I had already dealt with the shock factor and turned what could be perceived as a bad thing into a good thing. Nothing the doctor had said could change the fact that we had a beautiful little girl.

The other factor was my friend Kristen, her son Gryffin and her book, Naturally Better.....

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